Definition of dibs in US English:


plural noun

informal, dated
  • Money.

    • ‘Well, Artsfans, no longer will you have to schlepp down to Churchill Square or crook your dialing finger to lay dibs on tickets to that exquisite cultural event.’
    • ‘My dibs are on him being some lame ABC type.’
    • ‘On the off chance that they did, I'd like to remind them that I've got dibs on Attenborough and Harris.’
    cash, hard cash, ready money
    View synonyms


  • have first dibs on

    • informal Have the first right to or choice of.

      ‘they never got first dibs on great prospects’
      • ‘English and French-immersion students who live in the McRoberts catchment area should have first dibs on the desks at that school.’
      • ‘I noted that one slightly portly gentleman (to be fair, no more portly than me) was bidding for all the items that contained food or meal vouchers and so began to comment on this and to give him first dibs on every food item.’
      • ‘Smiling to herself, she gloated silently in her triumph of being the first one in the kitchen; therefore having first dibs on all of the food.’
      • ‘As its payback for providing the service, Spacey's production company has first dibs on the most popular screenplays posted online.’
      • ‘In case of closure, Transport Canada and the TPA have first dibs on the use of the airport for tourism, recreation or economic development.’
      • ‘When he realized seniors had first dibs on all the school equipment, Price convinced his parents to buy him a digital video camera, a top-of-the-line XLIS Cannon.’
      • ‘Therefore, top photographers are now insisting on a masseur in the studio to defuse the drama - but there's a strict hierarchy as to who gets first dibs (photographer, model, stylist, then assistants).’
      • ‘They will reap first dibs on infrastructure money and new incentive programs.’
      • ‘But since National, being bigger, gets three or four questions a day, and Act usually just one, National in practice got first dibs on all the telling question lines.’
      • ‘For a start I have no money, and the Student Loan Company has called first dibs on all future earnings.’
      • ‘Let Joe have first dibs on that one for Question Period tomorrow.’
      • ‘But they intend not only to get the money back through the $10 levy on air tickets funded by the travelling public but now are placing themselves at the head of creditors to get first dibs at funds held by the administrator.’
      • ‘That means if you default or go bankrupt, they will have first dibs on the merchandise.’
      • ‘I was hoping that she would have had her baby by now so that there would be no arguing over who gets to have first dibs on our own mother, but as you very well know not all goes according to plan these days.’
      • ‘The crew will have first dibs on the Sea Scouts hall by the riverside that has toilets and washing facilities.’
      • ‘If the season ended today, San Diego would have first dibs on any player of their choosing.’
      • ‘Being members of the triumvirate you have first dibs on coming down!’
      • ‘Obviously, the people who got to the box first got dibs on the unused stuff first.’
      • ‘My daughter Kendra has first dibs on being Gecko Girl.’
      • ‘Groucho wrote back, claiming that the Marx Brothers had first dibs on the word Brothers.’


Mid 18th century (denoting pebbles used in a children's game): from earlier dib-stones, perhaps from dib.